This weekend was awesome. I had a chance to spend time with my mom walking around my favorite lake in Lake Geneva, Wi., I maxed out my Roth IRA (!), and I was reminded of the importance of giving back – not once, but twice.
The first reminder came when I read The Giving Fund on Ms. Montana’s blog, Montana Money Adventures. Though a giving fund (charitable giving) is not a new concept, her post really put into perspective what these accounts can do and sometimes at just the right time. The story she wrote is truly inspiring and a definite must-read. 🙂
The second reminder came when I interviewed my BF’s 13-year-old son about money. Here is a snippet of that conversation:
Me – What do you think is the most important thing about money?
Him – It can help you live.
Me – What if you had all the money in the world. What would be the most important use of your money?
Him – Giving it to other people so they could live too.
So cute! He didn’t want to buy a big mansion or a jumbo jet…or maybe all the money in the world had already bought him those things. The point is, after he had it all, he wanted to give back. It is in that vein that I have decided to put my money where my mouth is.
It isn’t that I don’t give. I do. I keep food and snacks in my car to give to individuals on the street. I donate anonymously to any mud run, race, or charity of the month that my friends or family post about. I give to Go Fund Me, fundraisers, when people at work are sick, injured, or a natural disaster has struck…it’s a big company so there is always someone in need. I quietly pay for meals when I see military personnel in a restaurant. And, most of all, I donate my time to volunteer projects – these are my favorite because I feel I actually am a part of the process of healing. Though I do all of these things, I don’t manage the time or money in any way. I don’t have a specific fund or amount that I put aside.
Today I aimed to change that. I opened a new account and am taking a page from Ms. Montana by calling it my Giving Fund. With each paycheck, I will fund my new account in order to give back to individuals and groups on a more regular basis and in a more mindful way. I hope to be able to make a difference in somebody’s world – even if it is just for one day. But I won’t stop there…
As some may say, charity begins at home. I have been thinking a lot about how I can help my family and their future without just funding their lifestyles. I decided to create the Aunty Fund (still working on the name 😉 ) and have begun research as to the best way to contribute to the futures of my nieces and nephews…Trust? Custodial accounts? One thing is for certain, I won’t contribute to any college accounts. It isn’t that I am against higher education – I’m not. I just don’t believe sitting in a classroom is for everyone…it certainly wasn’t for me. I want these kids to have a choice in what they do with their future. But don’t worry, I am not entirely leaving it up to chance…
Being I don’t have children of my own, these kids are the closest chance I have at educating the next generation about money. One of the ways I would like to do that is with financial literacy – to give them the knowledge they need to have strong financial roots that will hopefully grow with them long after I am gone.
I recently tweeted for suggestions on finance books for teens…I got a few likes but only one suggestion – thanks, Nicolas, if you’re reading! 🙂 It seems I will have to do a bit more research on the actual books, but my idea remains the same:
With every event, birthday, or holiday, I will be giving my nieces and nephews $10 and a finance-related book to read. If they read it and can answer a few questions, they will get a 100% match to the original gift…and possibly a hot fudge sundae from McDonald’s for extra motivation (food is a great motivator for Italians!). If they don’t read it, I am only out $10 which would have been their gift anyway.
I aim to teach them about spending, investing (2 of them already own stocks!), and most importantly, I hope to teach them that although charity begins at home, it should not end there (Thomas Fuller). I hope they will learn to go out and help others. Perhaps I will teach them to start a Giving Fund of their own. I am hoping these gifts will be way more long-lasting than whatever trinket or tangible bullshit they think they need in that moment. 🙂
So what do you think? Any ideas on how to set up the Aunty Fund? Any books you are partial to for kids ages 10-15? I am open to any and all suggestions!!
By the way, I also asked my BF’s son what he would call the money he takes home after paying all his bills. His reply? “Fun Time Money”. Yup – I need to start a fund for that as well. 🙂
Until next time…
Wait – I forgot to mention one other minor thing…the Cubs won and are headed to THE WORLD FRICKIN SERIES!!! Let’s take a moment to let that one sink in…
Yup – a great weekend indeed.